Immigration Records–Ship’s Passenger Lists

Since the creation of the United States Customs Bureau in 1820, the Federal Government began requiring passenger lists to be posted from ships docking at U.S. ports. Since 1820, over 55 million people have immigrated to the United State–mostly on ships.

Microfilm copies of ship’s passenger lists from the following ports are available:

  • Atlantic ports (small): Indexes 1820-1952, Passenger Lists 1820-1948
  • Baltimore, MD: Index 1820-1952, Passenger Lists 1820-1909 (with gaps)
  • Boston, MA: Index 1848-1891, 1902-1906, Passenger Lists 1820-1943 (with gaps)
  • Galveston, TX: Index 1896-1951, Passenger Lists 1896-1951
  • Gulf ports (small): Indexes 1890-1924
  • New Orleans, LA: Index 1853-1899, Passenger Lists 1820-1902 (with gaps)
  • New York, NY: Index 1820-1848, 1897-1943, Passenger Lists 1820-1957 (with gaps)
  • Philadelphia, PA: Index 1800-1948, Passenger Lists 1800-1945 (with gaps)
  • St. Albans, VT (Canadian entries): Indexes 1894-1952 (with gaps), Passenger Lists 1929-1949

Contents in these passenger lists varies:

  • 19th century lists include the traveler’s name, age, occupation, destination, and country of origin.
  • Late 19th century and 20th century lists may include the traveler’s place of birth, amount of money in their pocket, health, last foreign residence, the name of a relative in their home town, information about previous journeys to the U.S., and their final U.S. destination.

You will be able to access them all online very shortly through one or more of the genealogy information databases. But there is something to be said for the ability to search the original lists as they were entered in the books now on microfilm–if the online version does not show the full lists, knowing the order of entry on the original ca be especially helpful in identifying the families of your immigrants. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Watch the next episode for my Fall work schedule and when you can contact me direct.

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